Thursday, April 12, 2012

Voting on austerity in Greece

Greece's unelected Prime Minister has called elections for May 6th. So, after five months of foreign-imposed "technocratic" (meaning "NeoLiberal") government, Greeks will finally get to vote on the policies being imposed on them, and on the politicians who abdicated their responsibility in the middle of a crisis.

It doesn't look good for either. European Tribune has irregularly been tracking the Greek polls, and their last update (from last month) shows the New Democrats at a record low 25%, and PASOK at 11% (down from 44% in the last election). Meanwhile, anti-austerity parties are rising. Unfortunately, Greece has an unfair electoral system, which hands 16% of Parliament to the single largest party as a "winner's bonus". So we may see a situation where anti-austerity parties win a majority of the vote, but are unable to form a government thanks to this gerrymander.

The results of this will be fascinating - as will the response from the EU's unelected technocrats if the Greek people tell them to shove their austerity. Will the EU try and overturn a democratic election in a member-state because it doesn't like the economic direction they want to take? Just a few years ago, the question would have been absurd; the fact that it can now be asked seriously shows how much this crisis has damaged the EU, and destroyed its democratic legitimacy.